Film #48 in the Disney Animated Marathon!
Screenplay By: Stephen J. Anderson, Jon Bernstein, Michelle Bochner, Don Hall, Nathan Greno, Aurian Redson & Joseph Mateo
Directed By: Stephen J. Anderson
With any animation endeavor the first hurdle one needs to overcome is the animation itself. It’s not always as simple as whether the animation is well done, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and South Park have shown that animation can be bad on purpose, but sometimes it is. When dealing with Disney the animation is always tantamount, and Meet The Robinsons marks a second attempt at a rebirth in Disney’s animated style. You can see the influence of Pixar in Meet The Robinsons and this is both a good thing and a bad thing. The feel of the film benefits from a Pixar influence, but the animation suffers. There is a clear attempt to look like Pixar, but Meet The Robinsons fails to measure up. The animation is passable, but there are too many moments, like the exploding peanut butter and jelly scene at the orphanage, where the animation is so smooth and clean that it looks fake.
That leaves us with the story of Meet The Robinsons. While Meet The Robinsons does try to stretch out its story to have some sort of major relevance, mainly for children, it really doesn’t. It’s mainly a comedy and a screwball one at that. In that regard Meet The Robinsons is funny, but it is a bit too broad in its comedic moments and characterizations. The major story point that isn’t comedy related is the tampering with the past changes the future tangent. That part of the story doesn’t make much sense, but in Meet The Robinsons defense, I have yet to see any TV show or movie tackle that story point and have it make sense.
The absurd nature of the future is funny and amusing, but at times it reeks of trying too hard to be quirky and offbeat. The meshing of styles is also hit or miss, the inclusion of screwball moments works, but the Japanese dinner showdown doesn’t work at all. Lastly you have the twist, and while I am sure a lot of people saw it coming, I didn’t. I thought it was an interesting way to go and that for this type of story and these characters it worked.
With Meet The Robinsons Disney appears to be back on the right track. There are still problems with the movie and with the animation, but it is a step up over most of Disney’s output in the new millennium. Meet The Robinsons is a good launching point for movies like Bolt and the others that are too follow. It is a good movie in its own right, but in the Disney pantheon it rests well below many other films that deserve your viewership first.